MacMost Now 851: Facebook Scams And Misinformation

Many of the posts you may see in your Facebook news feed are scams or pieces of misinformation. Learn to be skeptical when you read information passed on from others. Verify information before passing it on yourself. Often, posts are simply ploys to gain popularity on Facebook.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 851: Facebook Scams And Misinformation.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at Facebook scams and misinformation.

Way back in episode 83 I talked about urban legend emails. Now these were emails with lots of misinformation in them. This kind of thing has now moved over to Facebook where you see it almost everyday.

For instance you may see posts in your Newsfeed from friends that have news and information in them and you kind of feel that it might not be true. Sure enough if you search online you can find out that they are wrong. It's usually very easy to search and find out if something is not true. Just take a piece of text from the post and search on that. Then the information comes up.

A lot of times people are not actually writing these things of course. They are just reposting and liking and commenting on them and they end up on your Newsfeed because somebody you are friends with took an action on their Newsfeed.

A lot of these things have to do with Facebook itself. For instance, this was a chain letter that went around over the last few months where it basically scares everybody into thinking that their private posts can now be seen by anybody using the Facebook search.

Well, the fact is that only if you had your post set to being public or it can be shared with friends of friends can people who are not your friends see it.

What is worse about this is that it asks your friends to take action which is unnecessary and then it asks you to repost it so it becomes a chain letter that keeps going throughout filled with misinformation.

Now if you want to find out which of these is true and which of these isn't it is very easy. Just need to go to a web site like Snopes or just do a Goggle search for whatever you are looking for and maybe put Facebook and scam after it.

If you are look at Snopes you can see if you search for Facebook that a ton of stuff comes up. There are tons of things in here, most of them not true or are misleading in some way. So it is very easy to do a search and actually come up with lots of information about how that post came around and what is means and what it doesn't mean.

Now here is something else you may have seen. One of these two easy quizzes. They are usually something like this. Like name a city that doesn't have the letter e in it or something. They are really hard to resist. You immediately think of one answer, then another, then another and then you just have to comment and put your answers because you think you are so smart.

Well, these are very easy for a reason. They want to get you in there and get you commenting. The reason for that is something called EdgeRank. You see when a company or an organization has a Facebook page or person has their own personal page their are judged by something called EdgeRank. You see you might notice that not everybody that you follow on Facebook and every page you follow on Facebook appears on your Newsfeed all the time. This is because Facebook kind of judges whether or not a post is important and that is how it makes it to your Newsfeed.

Now if somebody posts all the time and nobody likes their stuff and nobody comments on their stuff then their Edge Rank is low and their stuff doesn't seem to be very important. But if somebody posts something like this and gets hundreds of comments it drives up their EdgeRank so when they post something else, maybe a paid advertisement or something like that they get a lot more attention on the Newsfeed.

So by commenting and liking this kind of thing you actually are giving more EdgeRank to the original poster who will then be able to use that in some sort of way. So it is not necessarily harmful to you but you should know that there is another side to it and there is a reason these things are there.

The same thing is true when something asks you to like something. A lot of these are fake, you know, showing you a person who supposedly has an illness or like this if you think they are beautiful or like this if you think they can beat this, like this if you hate cancer. That kind of thing. These are all there to get lots of likes to build up EdgeRank for whoever had originally posted it so that they can do other things later on.

Now have you seen this quote recently. Or maybe other quotes attributed to famous people. Well guess what! This one Albert Einstein never said that. This happens all the time. Misinformation like this. If you do some research you will find out that originally this quote was attributed to anonymous. It was probably made up by somebody that just wanted to make a point and then later on somebody threw Albert Einstein's name onto it. I hate this type of misinformation.

The rule I follow is if I get a piece of information, whether it is a quote, news story, some facts, whatever it is if I want to pass it onto somebody I'll go verify it myself. I will look for a news source or some other information source that will make me feel that yes, this is true, before I pass it on.

Now it is important to realize that passing something on is as simple as liking it or commenting on it. If you do that you are basically saying that you approve of the information and then your friends may see. So even just liking or commenting on something kind of is like passing it on to people.

Then of course there are real scams. Things that are trying to basically get something from you. Don't ever give anybody your password. Don't ever respond to an email from Facebook saying something asking about your password or personal information. Facebook will never send that kind of thing out. Always be skeptical of any information or any request for information you get whether it is on Facebook, email, or some other way.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now

Comments: 11 Responses to “MacMost Now 851: Facebook Scams And Misinformation”

    Raphael Foshay
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Gary. I appreciate your informative videos.


    6 years ago

    Thanks Gary! All good information. I will think twice before doing any of these again. Love you videos. Always easy to understand and apply:-)

    John M
    6 years ago

    Thanks! Fantastic information for a ‘newbie’ like myself.

    Jodie Hickman
    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for your videos. I especially liked this one about Facebook. Can you tell me if we like or comment in groups if that goes on our newsfeed. I am in several sewing groups and like a lot of pictures people post of something they have made.

      6 years ago

      The newsfeed is what you see (posts by you and your friends, etc). I think you mean your “timeline” — you can check that by clicking on your profile pic or name and see for yourself.

    6 years ago

    Gary – You are the only person on the whole interweb that I believe otherwise I believe nothing of what I see and absolutely nothing of what I hear!!

    6 years ago

    If you like Gary Rosenzweig, reply to this post. ;)

    6 years ago

    I was encouraged to get of Facebook because of these scams and me falling for them. I’m glad I did, so thanks for the video.

    Ali Shadpour
    6 years ago

    Oh thanks for this one, how can I share this with my naive friends?

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary, i really appreciate all your videos. They are very helpful. I am subscribed to the podcast. One question, i liked the video on facebook so i could share with my friends butvit doesn’t show in my timeline. Did i do something wrong?

    Another question, is there a way to sync my bberry contacts to the iphone? I was assigned a blackberry at work and i hate it so i have my iphone too :)

    Thx so much for your help, maria from Venezuela living in Mexico City!

      6 years ago

      Use the Share button, not the Like button (or both) if you want to share the video with your Facebook friends. Appreciated!
      Not sure about syncing the Blackberry — you’d have to see if there is an app from them that does this. I know a company called MarkSpace makes an app to do it, but not sure if there is a solution that comes with the device too.

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